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    Spanish museum returns two paintings looted by Nazi Germany to Poland 

    “A Spanish museum returns two 15th century paintings looted by Nazi Germany to their rightful owner: Poland,” Stefan Tompson wrote on Facebook. He also attached the video presenting the official handed over of these two paintings to the Polish delegation. 

    The official handing over of two 15th-century paintings “Mater Dolorosa” and “Ecce Homo” to Poland’s culture ministry delegation took place on Wednesday (Jan 25) in Museo Provincial de Pontevedra in Spain. 

    Way home

    The museum announced in 2020 after talks with Polish officials that the works had been looted by Nazi forces, so they swiftly decided to return them to Poland. However, the process of acquiring the necessary permits for the transfer has taken longer than anticipated.

    Nazi troops took the artworks from the Czartoryski collection in Gołuchów when it was taken over by the German army in World War II, Polish authorities reported. They were seen in Madrid in 1973 and have been on show in the Pontevedra museum since 1994 when they were among more than 300 pieces bought from a Spanish private collector.

    “A Spanish museum returns two 15th century paintings looted by Nazi Germany to their rightful owner: Poland. In total, the German occupier robbed at least 516,000 works of art in occupied Poland – most of them are still in Germany,”

    Tompson wrote. 

    Polish delegation in Spain

    The Minister of Culture and National Heritage prof. Glinski recalled that Poland lost more than half a million works of art during World War II, so the state is trying to systematically recover the works of art that manage to be found. He pointed out that currently there are approx. 130 restitution processes in more than a dozen countries around the world.

    “We recover our losses often through contacts with many institutions or individuals around the world who are involved in the search for artworks or are interested in this issue. These include museum professionals, art historians, but also services – Polish and foreign – and our diplomacy. This system is very extensive. And, of course, it is primarily the daily work of the ministry’s employees, who search the virtual reality with the help of various tools,”

    Prof. Piotr Glinski noted.

    Much of the cultural heritage of Poland was destroyed or stolen during World War II when it was occupied by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, and there are still around 500,000 items that have yet to be recovered.

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